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Bill O'Reilly: The American dream and civil rights

By Bill O'Reilly

Fifty years ago this week Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his brilliant "I Have a Dream" speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now, if you want to know the inside story of that historic speech we provide vivid detail in my book "Killing Kennedy". You might find that very interesting.

But the question tonight is how would Dr. King see the current racial situation in America? Would he be pleased that nearly 75 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock? No he would not be. Would he be accepting of the violent crime wave caused by young black men? He would be appalled. Would he accept the broken educational system in many poor precincts? No, he would not. Would he be happy with the rap industry and other pernicious entertainment aimed at the young? I do not believe Dr. King would be happy about that at all. And, finally, would he approve of a civil rights movement that continues to blame American society for the problems encountered by blacks rather than encouraging personal responsibility as a way to achieve individual success?

On Saturday, tens of thousands of folks gathered in Washington to honor Dr. King's crusade. But sadly, sadly, most of the speeches were heavy on grievance, light on problem-solving. We heard a small but a criticism directed at irresponsible behavior that leads to chaos and ruin but not much.

However, we did hear a lot about racial profiling and voter identification requirements. We heard questionable comparisons of Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till. We heard the continuing mantra of more government money to fix social problems that can only be fixed in the home.

Intelligent Americans know it is the collapse of the traditional family that is wreaking havoc in the African-American community. The other issues while somewhat important are essentially a side show.

If Dr. King were alive today I believe he would be broken-hearted about what has happened to the traditional family and not only among blacks, in our competitive society the ill-educated of all colors are likely to fail.

But good education is a partnership between parents and teachers. If parents are derelict and do not require their children to read and study at home, teachers cannot wave a magic wand. If a child has no guidance in the house, he or she is likely to fail at school.

Did we hear that Saturday in Washington? Did we? The left wants government to replace bad parents. And the teachers unions want more money. They generally oppose cultural reform or increase competition through school vouchers which would at least give poor kids a chance at a better academic environment.

And so it is that the teacher's unions, who are big financial sponsors of Saturday's gathering in Washington, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association both poured tens of thousands of dollars into the event. The Factor asked those unions for exact financial disclosure, they refused to provide it.

Al Sharpton's organization the National Action Network was deeply involved in the Washington event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So were any of the speakers were paid for this event you put on?

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Paid by who?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody. Were you financially reimbursed at all?

SHARPTON: Who? Personally? No. None of us were paid to speak. No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your organization? Did it profit at all from --

SHARPTON: How?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- from this event?

SHARPTON: I think the organization National Action Network and all the participating organizations -- we had to raise money to cover the cost of doing this. Plus the technical aspect, the sound, the jumbotron -- so absolutely it cost a lot of money to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: But Sharpton's organization has a lot of money. In its last IRS filing in 2011, the organization listed more than $4 million in contributions, many from far-left concerns. Sharpton himself was paid more than $240,000 that year and many if not all of his personal expenses were paid for by the nonprofit group.

So you can see that Mr. Sharpton is benefiting from his forays into the civil rights arena. Now, the reason the teacher's unions are so heavily involved with Sharpton and other racial groups is that they do not want educational reform and do not want to discuss putting the blame for bad education where it belongs on chaotic parenting. The unions are demanding more money from the feds and the states. That, of course, comes in the form of higher property and income taxes so it affects nearly everybody.

Quite simply, this is a scandal. Dr. Martin Luther King wanted a fair stable system for African-Americans. He did not want a culture of debasement, awful behavior from so-called entertainers and a collapsing family landscape. The civil rights industry, teachers unions, far-left media and apathetic Americans are all working together to block any kind of meaningful problem solving or cultural reform in this country and until Americans come to grips with that nothing will get better. In the end it is indeed about the content of character. When will the civil rights industry get back to that?

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.

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